Length of campaigns, dollars influence local elections

Last week the final campaign contribution reports were quietly submitted to the state ethics commission. It’s boring stuff I assure you. Being an armchair political wonk, I found myself combing through reports from Alpharetta and Milton. I didn’t notice any 11th hour contributions that stood out. A few other things did jump out at me.


I’ve forgotten most of my college statistics class. But it seems pretty clear that dollars spent on local campaigns correlate to votes. It’s expensive to get your message to the electorate. Candidates dropped thousands on newspaper ads, mailings and robocalls.

Milton newcomer Lance Large spent a staggering amount of money (24 large) for a simple council seat… and won. David Belle Isle dropped the most cash in Alpharetta.

Length of Campaign

It’s also worth noting that both Belle Isle and Large ran lengthy campaigns. Both were among the first candidates in north Fulton to announce. Could this be a trend in the future?


I’ve listed consultants when I see evidence of a campaign sending money their way. Nearly every establishment candidate had at least one professional working on their behalf. One interesting note is Fred Hicks at HEG. Four years ago he worked for Alan Tart and Julie Zahner Bailey. This time around he worked to defeat them. It’s all business I suppose. Then again, Hicks is building a pretty good track record in Milton.

Alpharetta/Milton Campaign Spending

Candidate Spending Consultant
David Belle Isle $35,647.60 Red Salt
Doug DeRito $22,770.58 Fred Hicks/HEG, Eamon Keegan
Jim Paine $22,712.27 Landmark Communications
Jim Gilvin $8,195.78 none
Cheryl Oakes $9,314.24 RP Communications, Eamon Keegan
Donald Mitchell $9,895.87 Eamon Keegan
Ron Carter $7,764.00 none
Michael Cross $17,553.78 Red Salt
Hans Appen    
Matt Kunz $11,960.10 HEG/FredHicks
Julie Zahner Bailey $11,208.92 none
Lance Large $24,698.21 HEG/Fred Hicks, Razors Consulting
Alan Tart $7,773.69 none

A few things to note on this data… I’ve done my best tabulating the numbers, but mistakes are possible. What I call “spending” is total campaign expenditures minus loan repayments. I had incomplete or partial reports from Michael Cross and Hans Appen due to filings that were not made electronically.

2 Responses to “Length of campaigns, dollars influence local elections”

  1. Eamon Keegan January 18, 2012 at 1:41 pm #

    Love your article and website, but your statistics don’t include the amount ($2,500) that former councilman DeRito still owes me.

  2. Fred Smickson January 27, 2012 at 10:05 pm #

    Based on his miserable failure to perform, I’d say Mr. DeRito has every right not to pay Mr. keegan one red cent!

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